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Why the Jews? Confronting Antisemitism

Why the Jews? Confronting Antisemitism graphic

Special Topics: Why the Jews? Confronting Antisemitism
1-Credit Course, Begins Monday, March 4th

Antisemitism has often been described as the “oldest hatred.” Yet the term “antisemitism” is a modern formulation, coined in Germany in the 1870s a badge of pride by German nationalists who feared Jews posed a danger to “true German culture.” Why should the so-called “anti-semites” define who or what Jews and Judaism are? Just as the broad range of Jewish experiences around the globe over thousands of years defies easy categorization, hatred of Jews has taken so many forms from antiquity to the present that it also resists simple categorization or definition. Why have the Jewish people been such convenient targets for any number of agendas and ideologies? What accounts for the persistence of numerous anti-Jewish tropes that run the gamut from “Christ-killer” to socialist, capitalist, parasite, and purveyor of global power? This course will first and foremost introduce students to the diverse nature of Jewish identity, before examining the many manifestations of Jewish hatred throughout history, and the ways in which Jews have attempted to respond to a hatred that refuses to disappear.

Course dates:

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Monday, March 4th through Friday, April 26th


Students can enroll in Student Administration until March 10th using the special registration form. Students should consult the Office of Student Financial Aid Services prior to dropping if this class is used to meet full-time enrollment requirements. Beginning January 31 and until March 12, students can enroll using this online form linked below.

Course:  UNIV 3088
Section 003 Class 14812 (Undergrads only) 
Section 004 Class 14813 (Graduate students only)

Instruction Mode: Online Asynchronous

For detailed course information, see the course syllabus.

Faculty and Staff Course Site Enrollments: Date TBD

Course Objectives

By the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize the diverse nature of Jewish identity and tradition from antiquity to the present.
  2. Classify the many forms Jewish hatred has taken over time
  3. Analyze how harmful stereotypes are deployed in the service of diverse agendas
  4. Identify the role antisemitism has played in European History, American History, the history of the Holocaust, and in contemporary campaigns seeking to deligitimize the state of Israel
  5. Recognize the different strategies Jews have employed throughout history in attempting to respond to hatred and antisemitism
  6. Analyze how anti-Zionism has been represented in discussions of antisemitism
  7. Explain the relationship between conspiracy theories, stereotypes, Holocaust denial, and antisemitism.

Course Modules

The course is comprised of seven (7) modules which include the following topics:

  • Module 0: Course Orientation
  • Module 1: Jews, Judaism, Anti-Judaism, and Antisemitism
  • Module 2: Anti-Judaism in Antiquity and Early Christianity
  • Module 3: Anti-Judaism in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period
  • Module 4: Antisemitism in the Modern Period and the Holocaust
  • Module 5: Antisemitism in America
  • Module 6: Israel, Anti-Zionism, and Antisemitism
  • Module 7: Wrapping Up: Confronting “Antisemitism” Old and New

Frequently Asked Questions